In Which We Don’t Feel It Is Expected

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to


My girlfriend Townsi and I get along great most of the time, but recently almost all of our arguments revolve around the same issue. After she leaves her job, she has to walk a fair distance through a parking garage with low light. She agrees that this is not ideal, but resists the idea of carrying any kind of weapon or deterrent on her walk.

I have also broached the possibility of me addressing the issue with her boss, but she says that it is not a good time for that and no one else at her job has a problem with the distance or situation. The thing is, she often has to enter and leave the office at odd times due to her position and they don’t have that issue.

I would like to just talk to someone there about it, but thus far I have resisted due to my girlfriend’s request. How should I handle this situation?

Anthony B.

sigh mwah nguyen

Dear Anthony,

We all need a place that makes us feel safe, whether it’s shrinking ourselves down like Rick Moranis and becoming the glitter on Ariana Grande’s eyelash or making a lifelong commitment to Agyness Deyn, a safe place is everything in this tumultuous world. Your girlfriend has given no indication that she feels unsafe, but there are a few things you can mansplain to her to aid her in a jam.

– Always strike an assailant in the temple or balls

– Call 911 if you see any suspicious person, especially crouching

– Hang out with UFC fighters after work

– Bark like a dog if out of visual range

– Get a dog, a nice breed is an Irish setter idk

– Where was I going with this?

Oh yes. You should not intervene at your girlfriend’s workplace, and you should not even make any anonymous call to OSHA. You should not make your girlfriend carry a weapon. It’s her life – you’re only living in it. It’s really frustrating not being able to help someone you love, but pushing really hard to get your way is only going to make her more stubborn. If she feels unsafe, she’ll handle it given the right amount of space.


I am currently in the longest relationship I have ever had with a man named Aaron. He is fantastic and our relationship is great. Recently I have been seeing a therapist who advised me that January and February are the most trying times for a relationship, and I don’t want to sabotage this one. A friend forwarded the following chart:

wrong on so many levels

How can I avoid the pitfalls of this holiday winter season? I feel like I have already navigated Martin Luther King’s birthday by quietly attending a screening of Selma by myself, but what else can I do to ensure my relationship doesn’t break apart at this late date?

Victoria M.


Dear Victoria,

Valentine’s Day is indeed a difficult period for any relationship, only rivaling Christmas and the day the new Star Wars comes out for torpedoing relationships. (The Phantom Menace hurt so many people in its wake.) Make it clear to this Aaron that you want to make your Valentine’s Day plans together rather than there being some patriarchal burden on him to come up with the perfect date.

The best way to keep things fresh in a long term relationship is by trying new things together. Just make sure your boyfriend has no idea that this is actually what you are trying to accomplish. Be all like, “Hey Aaron, I will be skeet-shooting and drinking Fireball while I’m watching The Bachelor on Monday. Chris Soules reminds me of the guy with all the minions. You can be there or whatever idc.” You have brought fresh verve and life to your love connection.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Veni Vidi Vici” – Madonna ft. Nas (mp3)

“Body Shop” – Madonna (mp3)


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